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Unemployment Insurance Update

I want to provide you with the latest information that I have received from the Department of Labor in regards to Unemployment Insurance.

The Department's Division of Unemployment Insurance took in more claims in March than in the entire year of 2019. The sheer number of users trying to contact the Division at once has overloaded both the call centers and online services. Compounding the situation is that all claims have to be run through the US Department of Labor's database to verify social security numbers, which is creating a backlog in Maryland and across the country.

The important thing to know is that people will NOT lose benefits due to processing delays, benefits are backdated.

Effective today, April 1, the Division of Unemployment is further extending hours at their call centers from 7AM to 6PM Monday through Friday and they created a new gating procedure to streamline calls based on your last name. For information on when to call, please click here. The Division has also added servers to allow more users to simultaneously file online and are encouraging people to file during off-peak hours of before 7AM and after 8PM. For COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Insurance please click here.

Federal CARES Act - Unemployment Expansion

The Federal CARES Act includes an expansion of unemployment benefits for Marylanders. Individuals who are not usually eligible for regular unemployment and who cannot work due to COVID-19 will be eligible for a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits. This includes Self employed, Independent Contractors, limited work history, etc.

Maryland, like all other states, is eagerly awaiting information from the US Department of Labor to provide the necessary eligibility guidance for the federal programs. Maryland Department of Labor is working diligently to ready the state's systems to handle the new programs. Once again, people will NOT lose benefits due to processing delays, benefits are backdated. The following link provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the CARES Act as it related to unemployment insurance.

These are extraordinary times, and the Maryland Department of Labor is working as quickly as they can to help Marylanders. They appreciate your patience and understanding.

During this pandemic, legislative offices have been closed, but my staff and I are regularly monitoring phone messages and emails. Please feel free to contact me at any time. You can reach me by phone at 301-858-3686; by email at nancy.king@senate.state.md.us; or through my website.

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